Army initiates new network modernization plan to enhance cyber capabilities
By William Ackerly, Mission Command Center of ExcellenceOctober 2, 2017
WASHINGTON -- As the Army introduces concepts such as the multi-domain battle (MDB) into joint operations, it also examines how its current network requires modification in order to support warfighters from multiple services in varying areas of operations and with numerous network and cyber challenges.
America's adversaries are using technological advances to even the playing field with the Army and its joint and coalition partners. To face this current threat, the Army is capitalizing on innovative technologies that integrate communications at every echelon in order to fight wars in multiple domains. As part of moving MDB from concept to doctrine, the Army is preparing to facilitate how Soldiers "shoot, move and communicate" across the land, air, sea, space and cyberspace operational domains.
As technology changes daily, Soldiers across the globe are required to meet their commander's communications needs while keeping up with current technology. To meet this need, the Army is implementing the "Network Path Forward," a data strategy that provides solutions that are simple, intuitive, protected and sustainable. Additionally, these solutions have the added benefit of being installed, operated and maintained by Soldiers.
The Army Chief of Staff's Network Path Forward will be described during this year's Association of the United States Army symposium on Oct. 10 at 2:30 p.m. This way forward looks at short-term applications using industry solutions to rapidly upgrade network mission requirements. These solutions will apply to emerging network requirements from strategic command levels down to the tactical edge, enabling leaders to lead and fight their formations from anywhere in the world. It will also result in better protected and resilient network capabilities for the Army as it integrates joint and coalition partner solutions.
The principles, characteristics and requirements developed by the Army Chief of Staff in the Network Path Forward will guide the Army's future network towards protected, reliable and resilient communications, combining assets from each information system platform. The end result of the Network Path Forward is an agile, mobile, on-the-move communications capability that enables the U.S. military to fight and win wars.
Cyber electromagnetic activities (CEMA) is a key element to the MDB and the Network Path Forward. As changes in the network occur and near peer threats are identified, commanders use the network as a weapons system, applying the CEMA process to plan, integrate, and synchronize cyberspace, the electromagnetic spectrum, and electronic warfare capabilities and actions across domains and warfighting functions.
This network strategy will enable the Army network to move from its current state, improve its ability to "Fight tonight," and move to a future state that enables MDB. The Army will achieve this through a 'Find, Try, Adapt and Buy' approach, leveraging actions that are already underway.
There are four key areas the Army will focus on in order to arrive at this future state. Three of these areas include Institutional Reforms, Policies and Governance; Research & Development; and Science and Technologies. The fourth area of focus is the four modernization Lines of Effort, known as LOEs. These LOEs center on a converged mission network, common operating environments, network augmentation and extension, and an agile and mobile command post.
The Mission Command Network is a critical tool to the success of the Army and sister services. Creative solutions will progress the physical architecture, device implementation, and unifying transport and network capabilities. The Army will continue to look at the implementation of new technologies through the lens of industry innovation, joint service capabilities and coalition integration as it responds to MDB requirements. These efforts will drive the Army to the technological edge in support of the Soldier on the ground in any domain and against any peer.
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